pro·​jec·​tile | \ prə-ˈjek-tᵊl How to pronounce projectile (audio) , -ˌtī(-ə)l, chiefly British ˈprä-jik-ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce projectile (audio) \

Definition of projectile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a body projected by external force and continuing in motion by its own inertia especially : a missile for a weapon (such as a firearm)
2 : a self-propelling weapon (such as a rocket)



Definition of projectile (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : projecting or impelling forward a projectile force
2 : capable of being thrust forward

Examples of projectile in a Sentence

Noun The cannon fires a ten-pound projectile. Someone threw a projectile at her car.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Instead, the Navy is pursuing an offshoot of the railgun, a hypervelocity projectile, that can be fired from existing gun systems. David Sharp, Chron, 1 July 2021 Instead, the Navy is pursuing an offshoot of the railgun, a hypervelocity projectile, that can be fired from existing gun systems. Fox News, 1 July 2021 That's because railguns use electricity instead of gunpowder, or jet or rocket engines, to accelerate a projectile at six or seven times the speed of sound. David Sharp, Star Tribune, 1 July 2021 While other hosts fired off invasive questions, O’Donnell cheerfully lobbed projectile Koosh balls and seemed, for a time, determined to combat cynicism with a tidal wave of positivity. Ashley Spencer, Vulture, 28 June 2021 But think about a projectile going through a lithium-ion battery. Eric Tegler, Forbes, 23 June 2021 Police did not specify what the projectile was and did not release any additional information. Kelli Smith, Dallas News, 21 June 2021 As the frozen projectile tore through the ceiling, a few pieces broke off and grazed his head, leaving a small goose egg a day later as a painful memento of his bizarre and chilling experience. al, 27 May 2021 The radar detects and tracks multiple incoming projectiles; the Battle Management system then determines whether each projectile is a threat, and assigns one or more interceptors. David Hambling, Forbes, 12 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Curfews were established across the region, the National Guard was brought in, and police made thousands of arrests and used projectile weapons to clear the streets. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 29 June 2021 Yes, there is some projectile body fluid, speaking in tongues, and sinister priests with bad intentions, but because of Quinn’s quiet performance as Mary, the indie film is able to surpass the expectations of a typical possession movie. Morgan Baila,, 15 June 2021 The department also was placed under a federal court injunction restricting its use of projectile weapons as part of one of several lawsuits over its handling of the protests. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2021 Almost all the individuals had evidence of trauma, whether from bone fractures or puncture wounds from projectile weapons. Katie Hunt, CNN, 27 May 2021 Moore said some incidents in which people shot with projectiles at protests were hospitalized were captured in the report, but most protest uses of projectile weapons and batons were not captured. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2021 In Montano’s case, two officers who fired projectile weapons were found to have violated the department’s rules. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2021 Di Barbadillo, a protester whose own footage of the incident was submitted along with the body-camera video, said the fact that officers used projectile weapons in such a way is exactly why a restraining order is necessary. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2021 These creatures roamed Mesolithic Doggerland, and experiments by modern archaeologists have shown their bones make excellent projectile weapons. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'projectile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of projectile


1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of projectile was in 1564

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projectile lathe

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Last Updated

15 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Projectile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for projectile



English Language Learners Definition of projectile

: something (such as a bullet or rocket) that is shot from a weapon
: something (such as a rock) that is thrown as a weapon


pro·​jec·​tile | \ prə-ˈjek-təl How to pronounce projectile (audio) \

Kids Definition of projectile

: something (as a bullet or rocket) thrown or shot especially from a weapon


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